Best time to travel to Alaska

Alaska Fall Colors

Snap unparalleled fall color display against snow-capped mountains


Last updated: by Olha Savych
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Fall foliage season is a unique experience in Alaska for several reasons. First of all, you can count on spectacular displays wherever you go. And second of all, the period of vibrant colors is a shoulder season in The Last Frontier, so there will be fewer tourists and cheaper accommodations on offer.

Peak fall foliage in Alaska

Fall in Alaska starts and ends quite fast—the further north you go, the earlier the colors change. Above the arctic circle, the season comes already in mid-August, but the rest of Alaska turns gold between late August and early September. By the end of September, fall foliage is pretty much gone, except in Southeast Alaska.

Where do you see fall colors in Alaska?

Alaska offers immense fall-peeping opportunities. No matter whether you visit national parks, glaciers, river gorges, or highways, you are sure to find a feast for your eyes. If you come early, a great place to start your fall adventure would be Dalton Highway. Then you can continue exploring the colors southwards in Denali National Park, Wrangell St Elias National Park, or Lake Clark National Park.

Alaska Railroad fall foliage

One of the best ways to discover the fall colors is aboard the Alaska Railroad. A famous Hurricane Turn Train departs from Talkeetna and passes sweeping landscapes on the way to Hurricane Gulch. Alternatively, you could opt for a Fairbanks Family Fun Train departing from Fairbanks.

Fall colors Fairbanks Alaska

Those who want to discover more fall foliage near Fairbanks can check out the scenic Route 3 west of the city. The drive boasts beautiful overlooks. Also, consider the Steese Highway leading north to the White Mountains. You can also switch to Elliot Highway at Fox and drive through the colors until you reach the well-known Dalton Highway.

Alaska fall Denali colors

Denali National Park is the most popular fall foliage destination in Alaska. Here you can soak in the fall splendor across its epic area of 6 million acres (2.4 million ha). Take your chance to snap fab photos of fiery landscapes with magnificent Mount Denali in the background.

Fall colors in SE Alaska

Latecomers chase fall colors in Southeast Alaska, where the beginning of the season is shifted to early September and may last till late October. Check out the forests of Sheep Creek, which combine evergreens with colorful shrubs and plants. The best scene takes place at higher elevations.

Anchorage Alaska fall colors

If you're looking for some eye-catching spots near Anchorage, go kayaking on Eklunta Lake. This beautiful gem is nestled in the woods, just 40 minutes south of the city. Besides, you can take the northeast direction to the Matanuska Glacier. Every mile of the journey along the Glenn Highway will leave you in awe.

When planning your fall colors trip in Alaska, be aware that the best time to visit the state is by late September, for most tourist businesses close towards the end of the month. Besides, you risk stranding in The Great Land because of stormy weather. Also, have a look at the Alaska fall foliage map below for the best hotel deals.

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